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Jiangsu aims for higher growth

Updated: Apr 3, 2024 By Cang Wei in Nanjing and Li Hezi China Daily Print
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An employee checks export-bound products at a spandex producer in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province. [WANG CHUN/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Jiangsu, a developed province and economic powerhouse in East China, will better coordinate investment, consumption and foreign trade to promote its economic growth and strive to make a greater contribution to the overall development of the country, said top provincial officials.

Xu Kunlin, governor of Jiangsu, said at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office on Tuesday that the province has set an economic growth target of over 5 percent this year, but it will make more efforts to achieve even better results.

"In 2023, Jiangsu's GDP grew 5.8 percent year-on-year, 0.6 percentage point higher than the national average," said Xu. "The key priority is to combine the implementation of the strategy to expand domestic demand with supply-side structural reforms."

Last year, Jiangsu's GDP reached 12.82 trillion yuan ($1.77 trillion), compared with 6.51 trillion yuan in 2014, with 13 cities ranking among the top 100 nationwide and five reaching an economic aggregate of above 1 trillion yuan.

According to Xu, investment accounted for 34.1 percent of Jiangsu's economic growth in 2023. A notable positive development is the turnaround in the growth rate of private investment, which had been at a low level since June 2022.

The province's private investment increased 5.6 percent in the first two months of the year, signaling strengthened confidence in development and investment across society, said Xu.

In addition, the value related to equipment renewal in Jiangsu this year has reached 900 billion yuan. In response, the province has implemented a policy offering financial interest subsidies for manufacturing industry loans.

While consumer spending acts as a key driver of economic growth, Jiangsu has dedicated funds to encourage the use of environmentally friendly and energy-efficient household appliances, and this has yielded positive outcomes over the past two years.

In the first three months of this year, the province held more than 2,600 consumer promotion events. Its cultural and tourism sector also thrived, with consumer spending representing 11.2 percent of the national total during this year's Spring Festival holiday, securing its top position in the country.

According to Xu, the value of demand for replacing old consumer goods with new ones is projected to reach approximately 70 billion yuan this year, and the province is actively drawing up supportive policies and guidelines for the replacement of automobiles, household appliances and home furnishings to stimulate consumer spending.

He also stressed the importance of strengthening foreign trade, adding that Jiangsu's imports and exports fell short of expectations in the first three quarters of last year. However, the province has implemented more targeted measures to stabilize its international market share in response.

In the fourth quarter of last year, Jiangsu's foreign trade saw three consecutive months of positive growth, with a 7.3 percent increase in the quarter, surpassing the national average by 5.7 percentage points.

An action plan was also devised last year to promote the high-quality development of cross-border e-commerce, resulting in 13.4 percent growth in 2023.

This year, Jiangsu aims to establish more than 110 provincial-level cross-border e-commerce industrial parks and 15 cross-border e-commerce industry clusters. It facilitated the merger and reorganization of five provincial trade enterprises, with a combined import and export volume exceeding $11 billion. The reorganized enterprises are currently expanding their global trade layout, aiming for further trade growth.

"Our goal is to achieve positive growth in foreign trade this year," said Xu. The province's foreign trade increased 13.4 percent year-on-year in the first two months of 2024, 4.7 percentage points higher than the national average.

Fang Wei, vice-governor of Jiangsu, said that the province's freight trains have 24 operational routes connecting China, Europe and Central Asia, while its cargo ships reach major ports globally, with over 26,000 cargo ships entering Jiangsu annually.

"This has established Jiangsu as a key transit hub for trade with Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asian countries, Central Asia and Europe," he said, adding that Jiangsu's total domestic and international trade volume is nearly 10 trillion yuan.

"The province has actively fostered international relations, boasting friendly ties with 363 cities in 67 countries and regions, ranking first nationwide," said Fang. "Jiangsu also stands out as a region with substantial foreign investment, hosting 43,000 foreign-invested enterprises, including over 400 Fortune Global 500 companies."

Fang said that foreign-invested enterprises have established 395 regional headquarters and functional institutions, as well as 293 research and development centers in Jiangsu.

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